Besides triple bogey, perhaps no two words are more feared by duffers than medial epicondylitis — more commonly known as golfer’s elbow. Dr. Michael R. Hausman, Robert K. Lippmann Professor of Orthopedic Surgery and vice chairman of the department of orthopedics at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, offers suggestions for how to avoid this common muscle injury.
American Way: Is this different from tennis elbow?
Dr. Michael Hausman: Yes, tennis elbow pain is on the outside, lateral part of the elbow. Pain from golfer’s elbow is on the inside. Golfer’s elbow is not as severe or incapacitating, but it’s more chronic and aggravating.
AW: What is it?
MH: Most likely an inflammation of the tendons and muscles from overuse — either microdamage from simply gripping the club too tightly or a more substantial tear from a sudden episode like shanking a ball or chunking a big divot.
AW: Sam Snead said players should hold a club like it’s a live bird. Is that good advice?
MH: Anything that will minimize the grip force is helpful — from better technique to proper grip size to using a glove. Simple stretches before playing help as well: moving the wrist up and down, bending the fingers and stretching the wrist back so there’s no residual tightness. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication should control most postround pain and inflammation.